Monday, 11 August 2014

To market, to market...

Inle Lake and the surrounding hills are famous for the various rotating markets. These move on a set schedule around a handful of towns, so every local guesthouse or hotel will be able to tell you where the markets are scheduled to stop next.

Burmese hill tribe villager selling bark at Indein market
Fetching bundles of bark (I think.... I'm not sure what these are used for)

The best known and most visited is probably the "floating" market at Ywama, which can be very touristy. But many of the others can be an opportunity to see hints of a traditional way of life, as the villages from the various hill tribes come down to the markets to sell their produce, and buy goods in turn.

The rotating market at Indein
Not a tourist in sight! 

The market at InDein (also known as Inthein) is apparently quite firmly wedged on the tourist trail in high season. But in low season? That's a whole other kettle of fish.

Baskets of dried fish at Indein market, Burma
A whole other kettle of fish

We hired a boat to take us out to InDein, arriving at 9:30, as the market was beginning to wind down. The approach to the main market from the boat landing doesn't bode well - it's lined with souvenir stalls and "art" shops. But two minutes later, you reach the main square and the real market action begins.

Masses of vegetables and fruit. Dried fish and scrawny headless chickens. Cheap clothes and farm implements. Vendors selling samosas, fried doughballs, and huge vats of bubbling soup over massive charcoal braziers, the smoke searing your eyeballs as you walk past. Local villagers in bright tribal headscarves and red woolen sashes haggling. Almost no other tourists. This is a market!

Making fried doughballs at Indein market, Burma
Hot work feeding a hungry crowd of market-goers

Selling vegetables at Indein market, Burma
Fresh vegetables from the hills around InDein

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